GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) shares slipped into the red yesterday despite “exceptional” results from the latest trial of its RSV vaccine as legal woes dampen investor confidence.
The jab’s overall efficacy of 82.6 per cent was hailed as “pivotal” in finding a vaccine against RSV, which is a major cause of morbidity in toddlers and the elderly, after 60-years of research by GSK’s chief scientific officer, Tony Wood, yesterday.
GSK, one of Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, and French pharma firm Sanofi are currently undergoing a series of trials in the US over Zantac, a heartburn drug which was recalled in 2019 following claims by the US Food and Drug Administration that it produced unacceptable levels of cancer-causing chemicals when exposed to heat.
Concern over where the Zantac litigation is headed has weighed heavily on the glowing results from GSK’s latest vaccine trial for RSV, which remains one of the major infectious diseases without a vaccine, senior healthcare analysts at financial services firm Shore Capital Markets, Dr Susie Jana told City A.M.
Shares sank 2.3 per cent to 1,327.8p per share by close of play yesterday, building on a downward spiral at GSK, which has lost more than a third of its stock value in the year to date.
Current markets are “tough” anyhow, Jana explained, but “once some of this overhang is removed and we see upgrades to the product, we will start to see that filter through.”
GSK has tabled plans for regulatory submissions towards to the end of this year, making a launch in preparation for the 2024/25 RSV season looking likely, according to senior analyst at pharmaceutical data analysis company Citeline, Natasha Boliter.
However, the British pharma giant is racing the likes of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson for what is expected to be billions of pounds worth of sales.
“Competition in the race to market for elderly RSV prophylaxis has been fierce, with rival candidates expected to launch in close succession after GSK’s vaccine candidate,” Boliter said.
GSK declined to comment on the share price movement.